22 years, 200 classes for Columbia College - Lake of the Ozarks Professor Jim Pasley

Pasley and Scooter the Cougar pose during the Lake campus' 2012 Community Appreciation Day

By Joyce Miller
Lake Sun
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Despite having taught more than 200 classes over the course of 22 years, Jim Pasley continues to enlighten and entertain students with his grasp of history and his ability to make the past not only educational but fun.

“The trick to making history come alive is the stories,” he said. “No one can remember all the details about Alexander Hamilton, but it is a lot easier when you can tell them the story about how he was being blackmailed because he was cheating on his wife. It is also fun to think of Sam Adams as the John Belushi of the American Revolution, always stirring the pot and getting everyone around him to join in.”

Giving students a different view of history and making it not only interesting but challenging may be the secret to Pasley’s success with students. Pasley has become one of the most well-liked and respected members of the Columbia College teaching staff, not only among those who come to learn but among his fellow teachers.
Pasley with Lake campus alumni John Lavanchy (left) and Roy Roark

Pasley began taking classes at Columbia College-Jefferson City in 1984 as a 30 year-old construction worker. After earning his bachelor’s degree, he pursued a master’s degree with Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Mo., and subsequently pursued a successful career with Missouri state government. While working for the state, Pasley began teaching history classes at the Jefferson City campus in 1990 and then at the Lake of the Ozarks campus in 1996.

He’s since taught more than 200 history courses in 22 years of teaching and is a favorite among students. In 1992 and 1996, he was named Columbia College-Jefferson City Professor of the Year.

When not in the classroom, Pasley can be found rooting through history and spending time on the lake.

“When I am not in the classroom I am doing research for my classes, always looking for odd and interesting facts to add to my stories. I also have the benefit of having students write term papers. They all know I love a good story, so they go out of their way to finds things I can use in my classes.”

Although their favorite past time is spending time with their children and grandchildren on weekends when they come to visit, Pasley and his wife also enjoy spending time on the water. The couple shares a common interest in sailing. When not on dry land, the couple can often be found somewhere
between the 1-and 6-mile marker. They are often out on the lake enjoying their 32’ Catalina.

“We were trying to come up with a name and heard the old Gary Wright song “Dream Weaver” and my wife said “that’s it!”, he said. “Dream Weaver is not very fast, but lots of room and a lot of fun.”

About Pasley
Pasley is a member of the Columbia College Lake of the Ozarks Advisory Committee and has served as chairman since 2009. He currently serves as a senior adviser to the Missouri State Homeland Security Agency and is sought-after expert on history, regularly appearing and speaking on radio stations, at schools and in the community.
Pasley lives in Lake Ozark, with his wife, Karen, a 2001 graduate of Columbia College-Lake of the Ozarks. They have two sons, Scott and Jimmy. Jimmy and his wife, Melissa, are both graduates of the Columbia College main campus in Columbia. The Pasley’s have three grandchildren.
About the Award
“Jim is a true asset for the college and particularly the Lake campus,” said Dr. John Keeney, director of Columbia College-Lake of the Ozarks. “His commitment and service to the college are exemplary.”

About Columbia College

 Founded in 1851 in Columbia, Mo., Columbia College has been helping students advance their lives through higher education for more than 160 years. As a private, nonprofit, liberal arts and sciences institution, the college takes pride in its small classes, experienced faculty and quality educational programs. With more than 30 campuses across the country 18 of which are on military installations. Columbia College educates more than 30,000 students each year and has more than 70,000 alumni worldwide. For more information, visit www.ccis.edu